Belfast Telegraph

Stephen Gately's bitter rift with family had been healed just a year ago

Stephen Gately
Stephen Gately
Stephen Gately of Boyzone
Stephen Gately
File photo dated 8/5/2008 of Boyzone (left to right) Keith Duffy, Ronan Keating, Stephen Gately, Shane Lynchy and Mikey Graham arrive at The Cauldwell Ball at the Battersea Evolution in Battersea Park, London. Gately has died at the age of just 33. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Saturday October 11 2009. The Irish pop star and actor was on holiday with his long-term partner in Majorca when he 'tragically died' yesterday, according to the band's tour website. See PA story DEATH Gately. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA Wire
Boyzone
Boyzone's Stephen Gately
Boyzone's Stephen Gately
Boyzone's Stephen Gately
The crowd goes wild for Boyzone as they perform in the Odyssey Arena, Belfast.
Boyzone
Jemma Neely and Michele Moffat at the Boyzone concert in the Odyssey
Caoimhe Campbell, Lauren Doherty, Meghann McKeever and Hayley Quinnell at the Boyzone concert in the Odyssey Arena, Belfast
Margret Campbell, Francis Doherty, Maureen McKeever and Clare Campbell at the Boyzone concert in the Odyssey Arena, Belfast
Jemma Neely and Michele Moffat at the Boyzone concert in the Odyssey Arena, Belfast
Christine and Nollen Bannon at the Boyzone concert in the Odyssey Arena, Belfast
Seanan Donnelly, Cara Donnelly and Michelle Corry at the Boyzone concert in the Odyssey Arena, Belfast
Catherine McVeigh, Nadine Quinn and Aislinn Murray at the Boyzone concert in the Odyssey Arena, Belfast
Eoghan Quigg and Boyzone.

Stephen Gately had patched things up with his family in recent years.

The singer had drifted away from his parents Margaret and Martin Gately -- but the rift between parents and son was healed a year before his death.



It is understood Stephen was regular visitor to his family in the past 12 months.



After relations improved, Stephen spoke about the rift, saying: "It was crazy because you need your family and I isolated myself to a degree."



He returned to his old home in Dublin's Sheriff Street with his partner Andy Cowles last summer.



He said afterwards: "It was so nostalgic and quite emotional. It was a lovely experience. They (his parents) are still very happy there."



A family friend revealed yesterday how Stephen had returned to the area to bring his parents out to celebrate Margaret's birthday.



Stephen and his family had become estranged for a number of years. In 2006, his mother only heard of her son's gay wedding a day before it happened. However, Margaret wished her son and new husband Andrew all the best.



"I heard he was getting married yesterday and I've seen it in pictures in today's newspapers and on television. Well fair play to him and I'm happy for him," she said at the time.



Margaret and Martin have had it tough since Stephen's dad was forced to give up his painting and decorating work after falling off a ladder.



Margaret cares for her husband full-time following the accident at work in September 2004, which left him in a high dependency Intensive Care Unit for three months.



Stephen attended St Laurence O'Toole's school as a child and moved on to North Strand Technical College.



Prayers were said for the 33-year-old at mass yesterday at St Laurence O'Toole's church.

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